Flood affected farmers urged to test water quality

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is reminding farmers of the importance of testing water quality in tanks, dams, bores and rivers affected by flood water runoff.

NSW DPI EnviroAg Testing Service Coordinator, Sarah Morison, said landholders directly impacted by and in neighbouring catchments to the recent deluge were encouraged to assess the condition of on-farm water.

“After significant periods of rain or flooding, nutrient runoff from surrounding areas, sediment and bacteria can enter water sources and water quality can deteriorate,” said Mrs Morison.

“Without correcting poor water quality, the performance of soil, pastures or crops and the health of livestock can decline to the point of being toxic, resulting in loss of production.

“Most chemical changes to water quality cannot be detected by sight or smell and require laboratory analysis.

“Water salinity, pH and nutrient levels can be affected, and contamination can also occur from the presence of faecal matter, pathogens and toxic elements.”

Undertaking chemical and biological analysis of water samples equips farmers with the data to plan for water treatment.

“Identifying the chemical properties of on-farm water enables land managers to take remedial action,” Mrs Morison said.

“As flood waters rise and subside, farmers may need to monitor quality water regularly. If you have any doubts about the quality of the water intended to use for irrigation, stock or domestic purposes, we recommend you get it tested.”

DPI’s EnviroAg Testing Service is accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and certified by WaterChek.

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